How to apply for a job in Sweden
Once you have found a job you are interested in, the application process generally involves submitting a CV and personal letter. The applicants considered most suitable are then invited to the interview stage.
How to write a CV and personal letter
Your CV or resume should provide the reader with an overview of your experience, skills and accomplishments that are relevant for the position. Try and keep it to a maximum of two A4 pages. It should also be structured into categories such as education, work experience and skills.
The experience section is where you show your professional track record. It needs to be accurate and should briefly highlight your duties, responsibilities and achievements. If possible, try and draw parallels between your previous roles/employers and the new role/employer. In addition, try and show the positive impact of your work as well as your contribution to the company.
CVs can vary somewhat depending on your industry and profession. The Swedish Institute has produced a few examples, which may provide you with some ideas and inspiration.
Arbetsförmedlingen has also produced helpful webinars on the topic:
The personal/cover letter should also be kept quite short, maximum one A4 page. The aim here is to introduce yourself and convince the employer why you are the best person for the job. Try to make connections between what the company asks for in the job ad and your own skills and experience. Don't just repeat what you have in your CV.
With both the CV and the personal letter, it’s a good idea to customise them for each job you apply for. Also, keep in mind that employers can receive a high volume of applications. Therefore, it’s important to make your application clear and concise. And don’t be afraid to be creative and find a way to make them stand out from the pack.
Good to know
LinkedIn is a popular tool used by employers, recruitment companies and headhunters in Sweden. If you have an account - and we recommend that you do - make sure that your profile is up-to-date and complete. You can also find many job ads on LinkedIn, some of which use the platforms "Easy Apply" function where you apply without leaving LinkedIn.
Preparing for the interview
If the employer is interested, you will be invited to one or more interviews. If you are based abroad, your first interview will often take place online using an app such as Skype.
In general, job interviews in Sweden are relatively informal and it's common to be asked questions connected to your private life. The interview helps the company to get to know you as a person and to learn more about your skills and capabilities, as well as your enthusiasm for the job. At the same time, the interview is an ideal opportunity for you to learn more about the role, the company, and your potential new colleagues, and to see if the fit is right for you.
Regardless of whether your interview is online or in-person, preparation is key. It’s important to research the company and the position. For example, explore their website and social media channels, see what is being said about them in the media, and if you know a current or past employee, ask them for insight. You should also take time to prepare yourself for possible questions; such as tell me about yourself, why are you suited for the position, why you are interested in the position, what are your strengths and weakness, and what are your goals for the future?
5 things to remember
- Be on time
- Practice your pitch
- Be curious and enthusiastic
- Take your time when answering
- Be yourself
What happens if you get offered the job?
Once you have a job offer, your country of citizenship will determine your next steps.
If you are based outside of Sweden and are a non-EU citizen, you will need to apply for a work permit. To qualify, you must have an official offer of employment in Sweden. Your employer will initiate the work permit application. Learn more about the requirements and application process on the Swedish Migration Agency’s website: Migrationsverket – how to apply.
If you are already in Sweden on a work permit and have been offered a job with another employer, you may also need to apply for a new work permit. Visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website to learn more: Migrationsverket – changing jobs.
Build a career in Sweden
Peter Karancsi and Olof Person, recruitment specialists and advisors at EURES in Gothenburg offer their best tips for internationals who want to build a career in Sweden.